When I consider the grace of God, I usually think of the merciful, forgiving, generous love of God freely shared with my sinful, imperfect self. But on Sunday, Pastor Mike* reminded me of another grace: God’s sanctifying grace. We are already loved by God, and we never will be perfect. But the sanctifying grace of God continues to work on us; this grace draws us closer to God’s ways and will, helps us to grow as followers of Christ, and works to perfect us in every way. We are actually freed in a new way when we embrace the insightful, challenging, revealing, humbling, and sometimes painful corrections and callings of God.
These days I sense that God is challenging me to simply do the next right thing. The next good thing. No matter what. I am called to do what good I can, but entrust the results to God. This challenges me because I want to know that any of my kind words or generous actions are actually making a difference! If I am honest, it seems that I’d like to be rewarded in some way for any good I am able to do. Even if the reward is just to see what good I may have done, the small difference I may have made. So I sense God is asking me to surrender my need to see results and my need to know I’ve made a difference, and to simply do good… for goodness’ sake.
I am called to…
– speak up for the oppressed even if no one seems to hear me
– nourish and care for my body as God’s temple even if I can’t guarantee my longevity
– apologize for my shortcomings, even if my words are not accepted or understood
– keep writing my book about God’s love in my life, even if I never complete it
– feed my hungry neighbor even if I can’t feed the world
– foster peace in my relationships even if I can’t put an end to war
I am called to do these things, just because they are the right, good, and faithful things to do. I am called to obediently and humbly welcome God’s sanctifying grace and to keep allowing God to instruct and teach me. I am called to surrender my need for results, recognition or reward. I am called to simply do good for goodness’ sake.
For God’s sake.
* You can hear this inspirational sermon message about grace at the St. John website: http://www.sjumcwv.org/media; “It’s All About Grace,” June 25th, 2017. Read Romans 6:12-23 for the Bible passage. The actual message begins at 13:47.